‘Hametz bill’ passes initial Knesset reading 60-49

View of the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem on August 17, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
View of the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem on August 17, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Legislation that would forbid bringing leavened goods into public hospitals during Passover passes an initial Knesset reading 60-49.

The legislation proposed by United Torah Judaism MK Moshe Gafni would not only permit public hospitals to ban hametz, but would require them to do so. The bill is opposed by the Attorney General’s Office, which found that in its current form the legislation goes too far and would be difficult to defend in court.

For years, most hospitals and other public institutions banned hametz during the week-long Passover holiday — when Jews traditionally refrain from eating leavened goods — with some even instructing guards to search people’s bags for forbidden foods at the doors. But in 2020, the High Court of Justice declared that hospitals could not conduct such invasive searches — after years of pushing the government to find some compromise or pass some legislation on the issue — and last year the court issued a similar ruling regarding army bases.

Gafni says the legislation is yet another move to combat High Court intervention in Israeli life.

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